The Best of London Fashion Week, in Pictureson February 18, 2020 at 4:16 pm
The fall 2020 shows in London have come to a close. Here, our daily recaps and the most memorable moments from the runways, as captured by T’s photographers.
Monday, Feb. 17
Riccardo Tisci closed London Fashion Week with his most personal collection for Burberry to date, aptly titled “Memories.” The show was held at the Olympia exhibition hall in West London, and the Venezuelan musician Alejandro Ghersi, better known as Arca, and the French sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque played renditions of Franz Schubert and Philip Glass songs on two grand pianos situated on the mirrored runway. The clothing was inspired by Tisci’s formative years in London, where he studied fashion in the ’90s: He presented numerous clashing iterations of Burberry’s signature nova check pattern; paired evening dresses with Wellington boots; and deconstructed English rugby shirts and puffer jackets. But the Italian designer also invoked his time spent in India — he started his own label there in 2004 and regularly returns to the country for inspiration — with artful draping and touches of madras print.
Christopher Kane is not a designer who shies away from investigating taboos in his work, finding inspiration in the 1972 sex manual “The Joy of Sex” and others’ private fetishes in previous collections. For his latest offering, he turned to the original sin, the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Models traversed the runway to Dick James’s 1957 version of the song “Garden of Eden” and several sported tops featuring an illustration of Adam and Eve framed by a triangle. Kane played with the three-sided shape, repeating it as a pattern across coats and sheathes, and allowing it to dictate cutouts of pieces’ overall forms. “The triangle is the strongest shape in nature,” Kane explained backstage, “and it also resembles the Eye of God, which has the cultish feel I always go for.” And, as ever, his exploration of eroticism was front and center: He incorporated lacy, lingerie-like sections into dresses and skirts, and showed knitwear with plenty of peekaboo slashes.
The night before his namesake fall 2020 show, Jonathan Anderson posted a cryptic message on his Instagram with seven rules on how to enter a room. (No. 2: “Do Power Poses Before Entering the Room.” No. 7: “Enter With a Smile.”) One way to make an entrance, by any measure, would be to wear any of the voluminous coats with oversize collars that went down the JW Anderson runway. He also created bulbous gowns from bouncing Lurex, a testament to his mastery of proportions. A pair of sheaths paid tribute to a Guinness beer commercial that Anderson recalled watching as a child; draped in folds around the body like a crushed can, the dresses bore the slogan “Brewers of Distinction.”
A forthcoming exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery that focuses on the British society photographer Cecil Beaton provided the source material for Erdem’s latest show, which was held at the institution. The designer Erdem Moralioglu was particularly inspired by Beaton’s portraits of the 1920s London’s high society party set, Bright Young Things, who counted the socialite Stephen Tennant among its ranks and would go on to inspire Evelyn Waugh’s 1930 best seller, “Vile Bodies.” The era’s louche decadence filtered into a collection that featured details like skirts with tiered ruffles, dresses embellished with strings of pearls and feathered headpieces. In his youth, Beaton would photograph himself and his sisters dressed up in tinfoil and bedsheets — a fact that so charmed Moralioglu, he embroidered dresses with flowers made out of foil and plastic.
Sunday, Feb. 16
Nearly three years after Tommy Hilfiger first showed at London Fashion Week, the designer’s traveling immersive fashion show titled #TommyNow arrived in the capital (following stops in Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin and Shanghai). The occasion was the release of a clothing collaboration with the British racing driver Lewis Hamilton and the Grammy-winning musician Gabriella Wilson, better known as H.E.R. Held at the Tate Modern — and featuring a choir that performed consummately British hits like the Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” — the show opened with Naomi Campbell and featured a diverse cast that mixed supermodels such as Karen Elson and Erin O’Connor with newer faces like Halima Aden and Winnie Harlow. The gender-neutral collection included plenty of sportswear, preppy motifs and, in a first for the brand, low-impact denim washes and recycled fabrics, part of Hilfiger’s stated mission to operate more sustainably.
The starting point for Simone Rocha’s fall 2020 collection was “Riders to the Sea,” the Irish playwright John Millington Synge’s 1904 one-act play about a woman dealing with death in her family, set in the Aran Islands. Backstage, Rocha said she wanted her show to reflect the play’s themes: “birth, communion, baptism, catastrophe, death, the idea of love, and to bring it full circle back to the beginning.” The garments were heavily tactile — delicate tulle was contrasted with heavier brocade fabrics, thick Aran knits and macramé detailing, and it was all tied together by layers of oyster-colored satin — reflective of Rocha’s desire for the collection to feel “visceral and of this earth.” Her dark and romantic vision of femininity reached its apotheosis in the final look: What appeared to be a bride clad in an ivory satin gown and a Chantilly lace veil was in fact meant to reference the funeral at the end of Synge’s play. Rocha imagined it in white, as all-black was “too ominous.”
Victoria Beckham is celebrated for dressing a certain kind of chic sophisticate, but, this season, she mounted what she called a gentle rebellion, and played with the codes of her eponymous brand. Among the roomy outercoats and immaculately tailored suits were new propositions, like culottes and knee-skimming tweed skirts worn over thigh-high boots and a variety of pieces in lumberjack checks; Beckham also worked in offbeat details, such as belt buckles made from silver skeleton hands. She attributed the shift in direction to the carefree spirit of the ’60s, and said that she had photos of icons like Penelope Tree and Marisa Berenson tacked to her mood board for inspiration.
Saturday, Feb. 15
Richard Quinn, whose brand is just over two years old, ambitiously took over the Royal Horticultural Hall in South London, where the set designer Derek Hardie Martin created a flower-adorned façade that welcomed guests to the “House of Quinn.” For the opening three looks, models were covered from head to toe in crystals and pearls — with the back of one jacket reading “God Save the Quinn” — an homage to “Pearly Kings and Queens,” a working-class tradition in London of wearing garments adorned with pearl buttons that dates back to the 19th century. This ornate troika set the tone for the rest of the collection, which explored the tension between couture shapes and techniques, and something much more subversive and kinky. One model wore a zippered leather trench coat and a spiked leather mask, for example, and subtler pieces, like a floral-print cocktail dress, were paired with opera gloves and leggings made from black latex. Quinn also introduced men’s wear (a recurring theme at this season’s shows in London) with a handful of wasp-waisted and super-flared suits.
For her fall 2020 collection, Molly Goddard staged a candlelit dinner party in a Methodist Church in central London. In doing so, she reminded attendees of the delicious mise-en-scènes of her early presentations, explaining backstage that she “wanted people to have a nice time and for it to be as laid-back as possible.” She showed her most expansive collection yet: In addition to her signature frothy layers of tulle and shirred, smocked and ruched fabrics, for the first time she included a series of men’s wear looks — knitted Fair Isle sweaters, checked suiting and collared shirts — a request from her partner, Tom Shickle. Autobiographical elements abounded; the designer, who distributed a photograph of herself at age 3 with her father rather than traditional show notes, said the offhand pairing of crochet dresses over trousers reflected her own style and that of her friends.
Rue Bennett, the wayward teen played by Zendaya in HBO’s critically acclaimed show “Euphoria,” was the muse for Marques’Almeida’s fall 2020 collection. Marta Marques said that she and her co-designer, Paulo Almeida, had recently started to stream the series in order “to try and understand youth and what they face and how they express themselves.” She added: “It finally clicked that what we have been doing is mixing random influences and appropriating them in a completely carefree way. It was an incredibly liberating way to work.” That translated to a jumble of references — including utilitarian detailing, cheongsams, ’50s cocoon coats, ’80s puff sleeve tops and ’70s knits — and the pairing of different textures, as tie-dyed and hand-painted fabrics clashed with acid-washed denim and neon fake fur.
Friday, Feb. 14
The young English designer Matty Bovan brought a boisterous jolt of energy to the opening day of London Fashion Week with his most conceptual collection to date. Backstage, Bovan talked of wanting to challenge himself this season “by exploring the negative spaces around the body.” His distorted silhouettes — for which tops and skirts appeared to be gathered at points by gigantic knitting needles — recalled the Comme des Garçons doyenne Rei Kawakubo’s experiments in creating volume, but when worn with inventive headpieces made by the milliner Stephen Jones (several featured pairs of shimmery curtains that parted in midair above the models’ hair), the looks came, undoubtedly, from Bovan’s clever and punky mind. Elsewhere, he turned Swarovski crystals into appliqués, added fringe made from salvaged plastic to coats and incorporated Liberty prints and upcycled Fiorucci denim, showcasing both his deep love of craft and his interest in sustainability.
Reporting by Kin Woo.